Fiji Time: 11:21 PM on Saturday 25 October

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Eyes off NZ

Josefa Makaba
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

THE Digicel sponsored national sevens rugby team should stop focusing on New Zealand and start taking the so-called minnows seriously in the IRB's HSBC Sevens World Series.

That's the view of former national assistant coach Etuate Waqa as he reviewed Fiji's performance in the second leg of the IRB Series where the team ended up in the Plate competition.

Waqa, who is now the director of sevens in Tonga, says Fiji must start taking these so called minnows of world sevens seriously.

He said Fiji must stop focusing on teams like the All Blacks all the time.

"As I mentioned after the loss in Dubai, the boys need to get their mentality right," Waqa said.

"This is especially when playing against teams that used to be minnows of sevens such as Scotland, Portugal, Spain, and Canada and so on.

"We should stop focusing on the Kiwis all the time. We should remember that all these teams are medal winners in the Olympic Games in other sports.

"So they know how to compete when it comes to the crunch, especially now when rugby is an Olympic sport and they are all gearing up for it."

Waqa said on the other hand he understood national team coach Alifereti Dere was working on a pool of players and giving everyone a chance to have more game time on the international scene and to gain experience.

"And at the same time we have more experience in our player base," Waqa said.

"But we should know that winning the IRB Series is setting a good platform for them going into the World Cup, which is just a few weeks after the end of the series."

* Turn to PAGE 34

Waqa said the team officials must start profiling all the other teams now and make sure the players know and understand who we would be up against and start creating strategies towards these teams.

"The important thing now is for the public not get too excited or loose hope in the team management and Rugby House not to panic."

"I believe Dere and his team are going through the process on their strategies and come the World Cup, the team will be ready with all the experience that they have gained to achieve their goal," Waqa said.

Fiji finished the South Africa 7s in Port Elizabeth losing to Wales in the Plate final 26-14.

Fiji was bundled out of the Cup competition by Argentina 15-12.





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